Grazing Management

Animal unit:

  • Commonly defines the average amount of forage consumed by a cow/calf production unit during a year as equal to 26 pounds of dry matter per day.

Warning Signs of Overgrazing:

  • Abundance of unpalatable plants
  • Distinct browse lines on woody plants
  • Pedestaled plants
  • Steep gully banks
  • Low plant vigor
  • Increased need for supplementation
  • Increased livestock use of unpalatable plants
  • Losses of livestock to toxic plants

Grazing Management Rules of Thumb:

  • With proper grazing only 25 percent of each year’s annual forage production is consumed by livestock.
  • Insects, rabbits, trampling, etc. consume 25 percent of each year’s annual forage production.